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Meet the BIH Spotlight Awards Winners

Meet the BIH Spotlight Awards Winners and find out more about what they do. The incredible winners have shared their insights on what it means to win an award. A month has passed since the inaugural BIH Spotlight Awards! So we wanted to take a moment to refocus why we started them in the first place. The goal was to celebrate and recognise exceptional talent and achievement from Black, Asian, and ethnic minorities working within hospitality, food, and drink. Reading the below, we think that has been achieved!

Chef of the Year 

Babatunde Abifarin – Farin Road – Edinburgh

Babatunde Abifarin is founder and head chef of Farin Road restaurant in Edinburgh. He has worked in the trade for the better part of a decade.  Aside from being head chef at Farin Road, Tunde is the host of Fusion Supperclub, a unique opportunity to experience African cuisine in a creative and innovative way.


“Being a chef can be tedious, we spend lots of hours away from our families. To be named Chef of Year is as rewarding as it gets, knowing that the efforts you put on a plate is noticed and rewarded. Be Inclusive Hospitality has provided a platform for excellence in hospitality to be celebrated within the minority community and I’m so grateful to them for this award.”


African Food

Maria Bradford, Shwen Shwen – Events caterer – Kent

Maria Bradford was born in Sierra Leone, with an enduring love for the taste of home. This turned her passion for food into a catering business- Shwen Shwen; translating to fancy in Creole. Her business brings a reinvention of African dishes to a broader audience through dinner parties, weddings, corporate events and more. 

“I am proud to be among the finalists for this award, let alone win. Winning an award for African Food is important.  Africa is the final frontier of food, our ingredients, suppliers, and our chefs have so much potential. So, we must advance racial equity and this event, this award is an important step towards that goal. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Caribbean Food 

Lara Luck, Food by Lara Luck – food stylist and recipe developer – London

Lara Luck is a freelance self-taught food stylist and recipe writer. She develops creative food ideas for top brands and clients and is a recipe writer contributor to Waitrose weekend.


“Being shortlisted and then winning this award means so much more than people know, to be recognised in your industry is always humbling. The food industry is one of the most hardworking and diverse industries so it was a great evening to be surrounded by like minded individuals and also in an atmosphere where I didn’t feel like a minority.”

East and South East Asian Food 

John Li, The Dumpling Shack Group – London

John started his street food business as a hobby in 2014 before going fulltime in 2017. They have now created a group with 3 different concepts: Dumpling Shack, Fen Noodles and Sichuan Fry. They now have 4 established venues across East London.


“Winning the East and South East Asian Food Award has meant so much for me. I’ve never had the self-confidence to fight for recognition and I think that’s down to my upbringing as a minority. Be Inclusive Hospitality gives businesses like mine a platform to shine and shows how much our communities provide in the hospitality industry.

Winning this award gives me added motivation to continue to grow the business and become a leading hospitality business run by a minority.”

South Asian Food

Priya Deshingkar, Deccan Tiffin – Maharani Supper Club – Hove 

Priya has been running her acclaimed Maharani Supper Club in Hove since 2013. She also runs popups in London featuring unusual menus of particular genres of Indian food such as Awadhi and Mughlai. Priya is a university academic working on issues related to inequality and brings those insights into her thinking on food.


“Since winning this prestigious award I have experienced a mixture of emotions – gratitude, surprise, excitement and feeling humbled. I owe it to those who nominated me and mentors who have supported me in my journey. The award will allow me to continue my work on bringing a decolonised understanding of Indian food through my supper clubs, pop ups, writing and public speaking.

I want to ensure respect for chefs of colour like myself and respect for the way we cook and eat. I also want to bring home cooks onto the culinary map and be recognised for their expertise alongside formally trained chefs.”

Middle Eastern Food

Ayesha Kalaji, Queen of Cups – Gastro Pub – Glastonbury

Ayesha studied at Leiths School of Food and Wine and considers her technique classical but unique by including lesser known spices and mixing cuisines. Queen of Cups is an atypical gastropub, opened during the pandemic in May 2021. The menu is composed of Middle Eastern small plates using local produce and classic French techniques. After 100 days they became the number 1 restaurant in Glastonbury on TripAdvisor and after 13 months were included in the Michelin Guide.

“I’m incredibly grateful to receive this award. To be considered amongst such incredible company in and of itself is an honour. It truly makes all the literal bloody sweat and tears worth it. I’m so proud of everyone who has helped make Queen of Cups what it is; a welcoming, inclusive and vibrant space. I’m also so thankful to all the judges for recognising this, and I look forward to continuing the work of representing inclusivity in the hospitality industry.”

Bar/Pub of the Year (sponsored by Wray & Nephew/WSET School London)

The Dodo Micropub – Lucy Do, London

Lucy is micropub owner and entrepreneur at The Dodo Micropub- an independent free-house in Hanwell, Ealing which showcases a constantly rotating line-up of independent drinks. The Dodo is a one-room, welcoming, community-focused pub with no TVs and loud music, with patrons being collectively and affectionately known as the Hanwell Massive.

“Winning Bar/Pub of The Year means a lot and is definitely a stand out highlight from what has been a really tough couple of years as a pub owner. An accolade from Be Inclusive Hospitality runs so much deeper than the tangible aspects of winning – validation, increased awareness and support for your business.

To be recognised by a community that truly celebrates and champions diversity and inclusion for those who have been “othered” throughout their careers and lives is hugely impactful. To be seen, supported and encouraged to step into the arena is utterly moving and motivating!”


Drinks Professional of the Year (sponsored by Moet Hennessy UK)

Imie Augier – Soda and Friends, London

Imie fell in love with the industry in 2016 and worked in some amazing cocktail bars, before starting her journey into ownership with her current business partners in 2020. Soda and Friends is a neighbourhood cocktail bar in Canning Town (London City Island) specialising in highballs. She prides herself on teaching, training and introducing new people into the industry.

“Winning this award was truly an honour. So often we are unseen and unappreciated in this industry, it meant everything to me to be seen and appreciated on such an amazing night! My thanks again to everyone at BIH.”


Writer of the Year (sponsored by Decanter)

David Jesudason

David is a British-Asian freelance journalist who covers race issues for Good Beer Hunting, Pellicle, Vittles and BBC Culture. His debut book “Desi Pubs: A Guide to British-Indian Pubs, Food & Culture” will be published in Summer 2023.

“Winning Writer of the Year is amazing recognition for the people who I have given a voice to over the past year. Interviewing people from marginalised communities is difficult as they can be – rightly – suspicious of media and journalists’ intentions. It therefore requires more resources and investment than traditional journalism. Awards like this recognise the effort writers of colour go through to tell these stories and hopefully alert commissioning editors and media owners to their importance. I will be forever grateful for this recognition.”


Head Office Impact (sponsored by Sky Business)

Tasneem Sharrem, Progression and Engagement officer – Fat Macy’s – London

Tasneem is Progression and Engagement Officer at Fat Macy’s. Fat Macy’s is a social enterprise that helps people to move on from temporary accommodation and build a stable life. They do this through a culinary and hospitality training programme combined with tailored, holistic support around wellbeing.

“Being nominated and shortlisted as a finalist was beyond anything I had dreamt for myself so when my name was announced as the winner, I was utterly lost for words. This is undoubtedly a career highlight for me and after being away from the conventional workforce for a while after having children and having struggled to find work when the pandemic made it even harder for stay at home parents to get back into employment, it’s just incredible to be recognised like this and remember what I am capable of.”


Rising Star (sponsored by Umbrella Training Ltd)

Reuben Nehikhare, founder – The Parlor – London

Reuben is founder of The Parlor Supper Club. The Parlor’s mission is to amplify contemporary African culture, through intimate experiences powered by food and drinks. Their community has curated spaces for black leaders in Entrepreneurship, the Arts and Investing. Here they build meaningful relationships the African way – over delicious cuisine, unnecessary loudness and uncontrollable laughter.

People’s Choice Person of the Year

Henna Zinzuwadia, founder and director of wine for AYO Collective – London

Henna is the Founder and Director of Wine for AYỌ Collective, which is a pan-African supper club, chef’s table and wine club. They have an emphasis on multiculturalism, showcasing culinary and vinous links between Africa and the global diaspora. She also works for MJ Wine Cellars as their National Sales Executive, spearheading representation of family owned, female led and/or minority owned wineries in the portfolio.

People’s Choice Restaurant of the Year

Cue Point – London

Cue Point is a British Afghan fusion BBQ catering company, lead by director Mursal Saiq and head chef Josh Moroney. The merging of their British heritage, ethnic backgrounds and personal experiences of growing-up in London goes into developing inclusive recipes.

“We have been waiting for this award before we go for any others. You all know me well enough by now to know that navigating the inclusive space has felt at times lonely, scary, and hopeless. We are glad to have stuck to our principles, core values and ethos as now we are in an entire community of like minded racialised individuals who are also navigating this space.” – Mursal Saiq




BIH Spotlight Award Winners 2022. photo credit: Freezeframe media

View the pictures from the awards night.

The awards headline sponsors were and Campari Group UK


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